Bad Surprises

I have run flat tires instead of a spare. This means I can drive for fifty miles to a repair shop before the tire is truly unusable. This weekend, I discovered that my rear passenger tire had lost all of its air in the week that we were in Florida. Fortunately, this unhappy surprise paled in comparison to the damaged floor to which my daughter came home upon returning from her honeymoon. The air conditioning unit had frozen up, and had leaked into the guest room, unperturbed.

I drove the car to the tire repair place. Super nice people. A man came out and noted I had a screw in the tire. I was handed a bill for six dollars, gave up my key, and then entered the waiting cubicle where there stood a large coffee dispenser. I pressed the lit button that said “brew”, put a cup under the spout, and waited. And waited. Then water everywhere, pouring out of the sides of the cannister. Fortunately, a large roll of paper towels had been left on the coffee dispenser, so I started using what seemed to me to be half in order to what now became evidence of my incompetence. I could have gone to the front desk to explain what happened, but then it would have probably resulted in a longer wait as some essential person, probably the person chosen to patch my tire, would have to come in with a mop and an expression of resigned derision.

I looked around to make sure no one was paying attention to me. I cleaned up, took a seat, and hoped that no one else would try to make a cup of coffee. I had figured by then that by pressing “brew” I was in fact making the machine begin its entire brewing cycle, which it didn’t need, since it was already obviously full. This meant weak, horrible tasting coffee, in addition to water dripping behind the cabinet upon which sat the coffee contraption and in through its locked doors .

Inevitably, the crew there will discover what happened. Maybe there’s a video of me trying to clean it up. Maybe I should have spared them the surprise by saying something. Maybe I’m a coward.

And then there’s Karma. I came home to a phone call from Art, the 87 year old man with whom I coordinate a figure drawing session at the old schoolhouse. As I sat on the beach in Marco Island with a pitcher of sangria, Art had to deal with a three figure drawing session attended by people from many distant towns and no working toilet. The schoolhouse is old with many structural problems. Usually, they are dealt with only on an emergency basis. Our group walked in once to a classroom without heat, sub zero temperature outside, and a model who offered to pose in his thermal underwear. It was lucky he was wearing thermal underwear.

Art gently requested we cancel the next session if there were no working toilet. I called the administration. Not so much concerned about the toilet for the figure drawing, but that in a few hours, I would be teaching cartooning in the same exact space to a group of 7,8,9 and 10 year olds.

Toilet fixed, I was told. Sure enough, first thing in the building I checked. Flushing, no problem. Sitting, another story as the seat’s bolts no longer functioned for whatever reason. Probably because the seat itself was cracked.

It would have been nice if someone had told me. Not that it would have changed anything. There’s just nothing happy about a bad surprise.